The uvula is the small finger-shaped piece of tissue that hangs down from the soft palate in the back of the throat. It can usually be seen when a person opens his or her mouth wide.

Although the exact purpose of the uvula is not known, some experts believe that it helps keep food from going down the breathing passage when a person swallows.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine